Vettel not frustrated despite struggles
Sebastian Vettel says he is not feeling frustrated despite making his worst start to a Formula one season in his career, but added that he has previously “been in a happier place”.
Four-time world champion Vettel has struggled to get to grips with the Ferrari SF1000 car so far this year, failing to finish a race any higher than sixth. His teammate Charles Leclerc has three times the points that the German has.
Vettel who is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season is having his worst start to a season since 2008 after Toro Rosso started the year with a B-spec version of its 2007 car.
Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season after the team opted not to renew his contract beyond the end of the year, with his future still to be finalised. Asked by Motorsport.com, if it has been his worst start to a season yet, Vettel refused to label his season so far.
He said, “I don’t think it is fair to label seasons or races. I know a lot of people tend to say this was my best race or worst race or best performance or worst performance ever. I think it is quite difficult to make that statement because there have been so many races.”
Adding “Whatever the situation is, I am sure that I trust the people around me and the guys working on my car. I struggled because of a lack of confidence, and that confidence is a lack of grip, so it is not just that you feel uncomfortable driving the car when it is coming from somewhere.”
Vettel says the team are still are trying to understand where they come from, but Ferrari needs to make progress. He also said when asked that he wasn’t frustrated, and admits that this season has been difficult for him. Vettel missing the winning feeling.
Vettel was able to finish seventh at the Spanish Grand Prix last month after pulling off a risky one-stop strategy to rise from outside of the points.
Nine races in eleven weeks “the limit” – Verstappen
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen believes the current run of nine races in eleven weeks is “the limit” and hopes the sport will return to a more regular schedule in 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruption to the 2020 calendar with the plan to cramp as many races into four and a half months instead of nine. This has resulted in three back to back triple headers with a week in between.
This weekend the teams will start the third triple header with races in Spa, Monza and Mugello, it also marks the first time that three races have not been held at the same circuit, since June-July 2018.
The teams all understand the commercial and contractual needs to salvage a season of at least 15 races. A planned calendar extension, which is set to include a return to Turkey and two races in Bahrain, before the finale in Abu Dhabi, will bring the total to 17 Grands Prix.
Verstappen added his voice to the comments made by McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said the concept of a triple header “cannot be the new standard going forward” because of the strains it puts on race teams.
The Dutchman acknowledged the sport “needs to get the races in”, but agreed that three triple-headers are “a bit too much”.
In a piece published by Motorsport.com done at the Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen said, “I think for the moment, it’s fine. We had a long break before. I don’t see this happening – well hopefully – next year where you keep doing triple-headers. I think that’s a bit too much.”
“If you can make sure it’s like two weekends in a row, I think that’s okay. Having a break in between is fine. Of course, we have to accept it at the moment. We need to get the races in, so we just try to do the best we can.”
However, George Russell says he enjoys the grind of constantly being on the road and said this season reminds him of his time in karting. Saying “I think for me, I’ve been really enjoying it. It allows you just to get in a groove and we’re doing what we love. This is incredible, getting to race around the best tracks in the world.”
Russell, however, admits that it is tough for those team members who have to work in logistics and those who don’t get a break between races.
Red Bull still believes in high rake concept
Red Bull still believes that its high rake concept is still the right way to go, despite some rivals suggesting it may have reached its limit of performance.
The team has led the way with its high rake concept in F1, with chief technical officer, Adrian Newey convinced that it is the best solution for maximising downforce. However, this has led to both Max Verstappen and Alex Albon struggling to find a good balance.
There have been suggestions that its high rake philosophy is no longer the way to go. Former designer at sister team Alpha Tauri, now McLaren’s technical director, James Key suggested the team were considering moving to a low rake.
But while Red Bull is aware that there is some debate about high rake cars, its motorsport advisor Helmut Marko says that Newey is sure that its philosophy is the right one.
Marko told Motorsport.com in an interview about the high rake issue, “We’re looking into this. But since Newey believes that this is the most efficient solution, we’re sticking with it for the time being.”
“The top three, and Max [Verstappen] is among them, are lapping the rest of the field, so we can’t be that wrong with our concept. We believe in it. That’s why you have a technical director, to set the direction.”
Red Bull has not had the start to the season they wanted and have emerged as the closest team to Mercedes, Marko says the aim now was to close that gap for 2021.
Although the teams are not allowed to design all new cars for next season, the team are putting extra effort into developing this year’s car because any upgrades will carry over.
Copying clampdown has “zero impact”
Racing Points team principal Otmar Szafnauer says the new clampdown on copying other cars will have “zero impact” on Racing Point’s business model.
The FIA announced earlier this month it will be changing the regulations slightly from next season to prevent teams from reverse engineering other designs through photography. This was prompted by the design of the teams 2020 car which was based on the title-winning Mercedes W10 from 2019.
Racing Point was found to have illegally copied the rear brake duct design of the 2019 Mercedes but will fight the case in the FIA’s International Court of Appeal.
Both FIA head of single-seaters Nikolas Tombazis and secretary-general for motorsport Peter Bayer have confirmed they will put an end to car copying by updating the regulations for next year. Szafnauer believes despite the changes to the regulations it will not have any impact on the Silverstone-based squad’s business model moving forward.
Szafnauer told Motorsport.com “I don’t think it changes our business model at all. We’re not the most affected team. We’ve got 500 employees. The reason we don’t have 700 or 800 like some of the bigger teams is that we lack in-house manufacturing.”
“But if you just compare us to everyone else in design, development, aero personnel, we are the same. We’re the same as the big teams. It has zero impact. We’ve always been a constructor, from the days of Jordan to the days of Racing Point and everywhere in between.”
He says that the team has the capability of designing and manufacturing their own parts within the regulations. The technical partnership with Mercedes means that it receives some non-listed parts that it does not design itself, which it claims prompted it to follow Mercedes’ design concept.
Racing Point will continue to race with the RP20 car through 2021 following the decision to carry over the existing chassis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but will then have to design its own car from scratch for the new regulations in 2022.
However, this means some teams have lodged an appeal saying the sanctions don’t go far enough. While other teams are calling just for “clarity and transparency” about car copying rules.
Sato wins the Indy 500
Former F1 Takuma Sato has claimed his second win at the Indianapolis 500 after overtaking long-time leader Scott Dixon in a tense and dramatic 200-lap race at the Brickyard.
The Former Jordan and Super Aguri driver first won the race in 2017 becoming the twentieth driver to win the race more than once around the oval in the 104th running of the event. The race was held behind closed doors as America grapples with the Coronavirus.
Sato’s teammate Graham Rahal was third following a strong performance from eighth on the grid, with former Haas F1 test driver Santino Ferrucci fourth. Rookie of the year honours went to Pato O’Ward, who was an impressive sixth in the lead Arrow McLaren SP car.
Alonso’s attempt to try and complete the final leg of motorsport’s Triple Crown continues after he finished a lapped 21st after suffering clutch trouble in his McLaren.
The race featured seven yellow flags and several heavy crashes, the race finishing behind the safety car following a crash for Spencer Pigot with four laps to go.
Pigot lost control of his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car coming out of the final corner and hit the outside barrier, before careering across the track into a heavy impact with the end of the wall on the entry to the pit lane.
Former Manor driver Alex Rossi was in contention for the win but was sent to the back follow an unsafe release from his pit box when he collided with Sato, before crashing out as he attempted to race back up the order.
Indianapolis return would be “very good” – Todt
FIA President Jean Todt believes that Formula One returning to Indianapolis Motor Speedway would be very good for the sport because it “has all the ingredients” of an F1 venue.
The Frenchman was at Indianapolis for the Indy 500 and met with the circuits new owner Roger Penske. The IMS road course last held a Grand Prix in 2007, before the race returned in 2012 when it returned at the new Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
Speaking to assembled, Todt said he was “very impressed” with the revamped facilities at IMS.
Asked by Autosport if a potential return to Indianapolis is something the FIA would support, Todt, replied: “Well you know the responsibility of the calendar is with the commercial rights holder, but clearly Indianapolis has all the ingredients of a Formula One venue, all the facilities.
“Roger Penske and his group have taken the lead, and I was very impressed with what I saw this morning. All the improvements have been done in a very short time; Roger has already achieved quite a lot with facilities that were already very impressive.”
He described the area in Indiana as the US’s Silicon Valley for motorsport, saying that if the F1 Commission has proposed a return to Indiana.